Ertz: I Want To Be An Eagle ‘For My Entire Career’

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz didn’t look at a contract extension as something that had to be done this offseason, but when the Eagles approached him after a few days after the season ended about keeping him past next season, he decided to get a deal done.

“Ultimately, this is the best deal at the right time that made sense for me,” he told reporters at the NovaCare Complex Monday afternoon. “I never play the game for money. I pride myself on being the best tight end I can possibly be, and I think this deal signifies that. I’m really happy with the deal.

“My agent did an unbelievable job, but at the same time, I want to be in Philadelphia and whatever price that took, that’s what I wanted to do. And I want to be here for a long time. I want to be here for my entire career.” Read more »

Eagles Sign Zach Ertz To Five-Year Extension

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

The Eagles signed Zach Ertz to a five-year contract extension, locking him up through 2021, the team announced Monday morning. Ertz’s extension is reportedly worth $42.5 million, with $20 million guaranteed, making him the NFL’s fourth-highest paid tight end.

Ertz became the first Eagles tight end this season to have back-to-back 100-yard games since Brent Celek did so in 2009. His career-high 152 receiving yards in the season finale against the Giants was the fourth-highest total ever by an Eagles tight end, and the most since Celek’s 157 yards in a game in 2012.

Ertz accumulated 30 receptions in the last three games, setting a team record for the most catches over a three-games span. He also racked up 450 yards over the final four games, joining Jimmy Graham as the only NFL tight ends with at least 450 yards over a four-game span since 2013. With 853 yards on the season, Ertz finished with the seventh-highest single-season yardage total ever by an Eagles tight end, while his 75 receptions rank third.

Ertz posted the following message on his website: Read more »

Eagles Roster Analysis: Offense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray. (Jeff Fusco)

With Sunday’s game against the Giants meaningless in terms of the 2015 NFL season, we figured it was time to turn our attention to the Eagles’ roster heading into the new year and the offseason, as the team begins looking for its next head coach.

A team’s stable of talent plays quite the role when people like Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman are trying to sell their franchise to prospective head coaches. Let’s talk about how the roster looks on the offensive side of the ball.

(All contract information is via Spotrac, including the 2016 dead cap numbers.) Read more »

Zach Ertz: ‘I Don’t Need A Best Friend As A Coach’

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

After several players voiced their criticisms of Chip Kelly yesterday, it became clear today that not everyone in the locker room feels the same way. Malcolm Jenkins responded to some of Lane Johnson’s comments, and Zach Ertz appeared to defend his former head coach when asked about whether Kelly was approachable.

“I’ve been around unapproachable coaches before. I don’t need a best friend as a coach,” Ertz said. “I need someone that’s going to push me to be the best I can be, and that’s all I can ask for.”

When speaking to the media yesterday about firing Kelly, Jeffrey Lurie said he would consult players about what they want in their next head coach. Ertz expressed a sentiment similar to his response about Kelly. Read more »

Sam Bradford: ‘This Is Where I Want To Be’

Jordan Matthews and Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Matthews and Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

The Eagles season hasn’t gone how Sam Bradford envisioned when he joined the team in the offseason, but the quarterback said he still wants to re-sign and be back next year.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’ve enjoyed being in Philadelphia,” Bradford said after the Eagles’ 38-24 loss against Washington. “I think throughout my career, I’ve learned that learning new offenses every year, it’s just hard to continue to improve. You are always learning. You are learning new verbiage, learning new plays, learning new systems. And I would really like to stay in the same one and have the opportunity to play a second year.”

Bradford has completed 63.7 percent of his passes this season for 3,025 yards, 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He’s averaging 6.9 yards per throw and has a passer rating of 83.8.

Against Washington, Bradford set a career high with 380 passing yards and 37 completions. His completion total also tied an Eagles record, set by Mark Sanchez last season at Washington. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘Playoffs Start Now’

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

Depending on who you talked to in the Eagles’ locker room yesterday after their loss to the Cardinals, you felt different a emotion radiating from the team.

Jordan Matthews explained how the Eagles beat themselves, while Malcolm Jenkins candidly rejected that premise. Zach Ertz discussed looking ahead, while Connor Barwin compared the Cardinals to other teams the Eagles have played (he said Arizona is better than Carolina or New England).

But most of the players repeated some variation of what Lane Johnson called “a do-or-die situation.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Closer Look At the Ertz Play

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

It was the longest play of Zach Ertz‘s young career and in his mind, the biggest.

The game was knotted at 20-20 with five minutes remaining, and the Eagles were facing a 3rd-and-3 from their own 41 when Ertz pulled off the big catch-and-run down the left sideline that set up the eventual game-deciding Caleb Sturgis field goal. Read more »

Eagles Notes: Sam Bradford Returns To Practice

Sam Bradford

Chip Kelly didn’t provide reporters with health updates on his players, after getting Jason Peters‘ status wrong last week, so we were left to our own devices.

T-Mac brings us video of Sam Bradford warming up with his teammates, who was later seen throwing with the Eagles’ quarterbacks.

This means he has progressed through the concussion protocol at least to the point where he can wear a helmet in practice and throw a football, but does not inherently indicate that he is completely cleared for contact just yet.

Read more »

All-22: Twists And Turns In the Passing Game

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Prior to the Eagles game Sunday against the Dolphins, many expected them to use a run-heavy offense and exploit the NFL’s second-to-worst run defense. But then they averaged just 2.3 yards per carry against Miami, so it wasn’t surprising they threw the ball 48 times compared to 36 rushes.

However, even before their struggles against Miami on the ground, they relied on the pass to move the ball down the field, throwing for nearly 400 yards (although -39 sack yards hurt their total number of passing yards). They utilized their tight ends in particular as Brent Celek accumulated 134 receiving yards, his highest total since 2012 and the third-most of his career, while Zach Ertz added seven catches for 68 receiving yards.

“We just thought those match-ups for us were something we felt like going into the game [with],” Chip Kelly said. “We run the ball a lot with Brent when Brent is in there, so obviously we felt like in play-action pass, we could exploit some things there, and I thought Brent did a really nice job with it.

“They made some adjustments and played a little bit more man coverage than zone coverage to kind of take some of that stuff away, but we felt like those match-ups on the inside with their linebackers and safeties were to our advantage with our tight ends.” Read more »

Sanchez Back At Controls Of ‘Fast-Break’ Offense

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Eagles offense under Mark Sanchez might best be described as frenetic: fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way.

That was certainly the feel on Sunday against the Dolphins. The tempo appeared to pick up noticeably when Sanchez entered the game for the injured Sam Bradford as the Eagles moved down the field in bursts. It also felt wobbly and went off the rails at precisely the wrong time, neglecting to brake entering the turn.

Sanchez’s career has fallen along those lines. The former No. 5 overall pick out of USC has reached some respectable heights in this league and shown the ability to move an offense and make plays, but has had trouble reining it in when necessary and has been unable to keep the turnovers off him as a result. He’s averaged 16 interceptions per year (81 total) in five seasons, including 11 in nine games last season with the Eagles and a critical one Sunday against Miami. Read more »

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